Want to Reduce the Deficit? Give Away Contraception Free Contraception Would Help the Deficit

Publicly funded contraception saves taxpayers about $4 for every $1 spent, by preventing millions of pregnancies and abortions each year.

As health care reform plans get revised and reshaped in Washington in the months ahead, a panel of experts will take up the question of whether the government will require insurance plans to cover contraception. That may seem like a mostly moral argument, or a civil rights one. anyway. But it's also an economic issue.

Publicly funded contraception saves taxpayers about $3.74 for every $1 spent, and prevents nearly two million pregnancies and more than 800,000 abortions every year. (Guttmacher Institute)

The same advocates who want the deficit reduced tend to also want the government to keep out of contraception matters. Squaring that contradiction will require trade-offs according to the financial calculations.

The Guttmacher Institute also calculates that more than half of all women will have an unintended pregnancy by the time they are 45, so there's a real argument for maintaining or even increasing the availability of birth control.

Ninety percent of employer-sponsored health insurance plans cover contraception already, so it's not the most consequential of questions at the moment. But a rollback could be financially damaging to our nation's already battered balance sheet.

(Via NJ Star Ledger)

Image (CC) by Flickr user brains the head.